Tuesday, June 28, 2011
NYAFF: Machete Maidens Unleashed (2010)
This is one of the hidden treasures of this year's New York Asian Film Festival.
I'm going to bet that a bunch of you who are reading this may not put this on your list of must see films at the festival because it's a documentary, but trust me if you love action, if you love blood, if you like bare breasts, or if you love to know how movies get made you need to see Machete Maidens Unleashed.
The film is the story of the exploitation films that came out of the Philippines in the 1960's and 1970's from companies like Independent International (The Blood Island films) and Roger Corman's New World Films (The Big Bird Cage among others). Its a film that's full of blood, guns and breasts. It's also full of interviews of all the right people from Eddie Romero, Roger Corman, David Sherman, Joe Dante, Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Jack Hill, and John Landis (who will forever deflate any and all notion of these films having a deeper meaning).
As a documentary on the subject of these wonderfully over the top films the film is a fantastic primer. It's a film that tells you the basics of everything you need to know about the hows and whys of the creation of these films. It's full of great lines from the films, great sequences, lots of T&A, gallons of blood and bad monsters. The commentary by the filmmakers is priceless and puts everything into context. (I should point out that this is not the story of all of the films, primarily just those released and produced by New World. There are so many more films that were turned out that there was no way that this film could have touched on them all. For a more detailed look at the films you should check out Pete Tombs' Mondo Macabro or the British TV series of the same name.)
I will freely admit I screwed up big time when I saw this film. I should have seen this at a regular showing in a theater full of crazed film fans instead of one arranged so I could simply review the film.
Machete Maiden Unleashed is a party film of the highest order. It's as much an exploitation film as the films it talks about. This is a film that needs to be seen with a large rowdy audience that is making noise, laughing and carrying on. Watching the film sans crazed audience, I was keenly aware by how much more fun this would have been had I been not so alone in the dark.
Because this is everything you want out of an exploitation film all rolled into one film. As I keep saying, this film has everything you want in an exploitation film but in one place. In it's way it's a super exploitation film. It's the ultimate midnight film that's filled with all the good parts we know and love (and gasp it teaches you about exploitation films in the process)
If you like films like The Blood Island Films, The Big Bird Cage, For Your Height Only , Raw Force or any of the countless other films that have come out of the Philippines this is is a must see. And if you want to see a great film that is going to pump up it's audience this is it.
Absolutely this film is a must see at the film festival.
(If you can't make the screenings, this is coming out on DVD toward the end of July)